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This summer, Nathaniel Cavanaugh vacations in Lobster Cove to spend quality time with his kids after his estranged wife’s tragic death. Successful and well-connected, he is on the fast-track to the highest legal positions in the country, but his family life suffers. After an accident throws Val nearly into his lap and costs her a job opportunity, Nathaniel surprises himself by overlooking her outlandish appearance and lack of qualifications to offer her a job as his nanny for the summer.
Valdosta McKinley wishes for an internship at a Paris Art Institute to use her newly acquired art-history skills. She knows Nathaniel could never develop feelings for a girl from a trailer in a rural West Virginia holler—a lesson she learned the hard way years earlier.
Will pursuit of their professional goals require Nathaniel and Val to give up the dream of being a family?
Val clung to him, feeling utterly ridiculous, and at the same time completely content in his arms. “I’m sorry,” she said, once she trusted her voice.
“The summer’s been good, hasn’t it?” Nathaniel laid his cheek on the top of her head and held her tighter. “I’ll miss this porch most of all.”
“Me, too.” She pressed her face against his chest, a fresh wave of tears rushing into her eyes. She’d sat in this very place, unloading her darkest secrets, her greatest fears, been comforted and listened, and even… The memory of Nathaniel’s kiss was nearly more than she could take. Her heart felt like it was being squeezed, and she gasped for air. She took a step back, releasing her grip.
Swallowing against her tight throat, she raised her gaze to his.
He lifted a wet strand of hair from her face, and his gaze dropped to her lips before returning to hers.
If only she could look into those blue eyes every day, be held by him every time she cried, if only…
The sound of Ruby’s voice broke Val’s blissful bubble. She must have gotten impatient and unbuckled her carseat.
“We’re on the porch, Ruby.” Nathaniel’s gaze didn’t leave Val’s face.
Val rubbed her fingers over her cheeks one more time before hurrying to meet Ruby. She glanced back and saw Nathaniel still watching her until she rounded the side of the house.
They arrived in Boston in the late afternoon and drove toward Val’s new apartment. Nathaniel explained how to find the subway. “Make sure you’re on the green line—outbound toward Heath. The train will drop you off right across the street from the MFA.”
“Got it.” Val acknowledged his instructions and kept her gaze directed out the window, memorizing her way through the narrow, curving streets and brown brick buildings that were all smashed together and looked the same.
Nathaniel drove through the neighborhood, showing her the closest grocery store, and finally stopped in front of the apartment building, double checking the address. Cars lined both sides of the street, and so he left the car idling as they got out. He lifted her suitcase from the trunk. “You sure the manager is meeting you?”
Val nodded as she took a hold of the handle, knowing she didn’t dare raise her gaze to his face. “He just texted me.”
Nathaniel looked at the building, and then back, clearing his throat. “You still planning on tomorrow night?”
“If you still want me.”
He took her hand, squeezing it. “I’ll bring Rachel over in the morning—nine o’clock. Will that work?”
“Thanks for doing that.” She tried to smile but the gesture fell flat as she looked through the back window where Ruby and Finn slept in their seats. Who would feed them supper tonight? Pour extra bubbles in Finn’s bath? Put a sleeping spell on Ruby? “Tell them good-bye for me. And tell them…” Her throat tightened, and she couldn’t make her voice finish the sentence.
“I’ll tell them.”
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